Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5 NIV.
We need each other! It’s true, regardless of our age, our marital status, or how long we may have known the Lord. God has designed us in such a way that we need healthy, intentional relationships to help us become all He intends us to be and to strengthen and equip us for each season of life. These kinds of life-to-life relationships, fueled by His Spirit, grounded in His Word, and enabled by His grace, bless us and bless others around us. They provide mutual encouragement and support in the trenches of daily life. They rescue us from purposelessness, from discouragement, and from deception and sin.
I have lived in Titus 2 off and on for nearly a decade—during the writing of Adorned, I transitioned from being a younger woman to being an older woman and from being single to being married. Through the course of that time, I have had the joy of experiencing the outworking of this message in many different relationships—not so much in formal, structured mentoring relationships as in fluid, organic friendships that have molded and shaped my life.
As I wrote Adorned, I was reminded of the older women God has placed in my life over the years and how much I owe to them for their investment and influence. I was also inspired to become that kind of woman in the lives of the younger women He causes to intersect my life.
Each book I write ends up confronting my own heart before it ever goes to press. Adorned was no exception. I grappled afresh with what it means to glorify God, to embrace the qualities He has set before us, and to pursue Christlikeness in each of the areas addressed in this text. Repeatedly, I found the Scripture searching my own heart, showing me my need, bringing me to repentance, and leading me to say “Yes, Lord” to the message I was laying out for other women.
The principles and precepts of Titus 2 address virtually every nook and cranny of our lives and have transformational implications for our walk and our influence—at home, in the workplace, in our churches, and in the world around us.
For example, “sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1) is absolutely indispensable to a healthy heart and a godly life. It’s foundational and critical to know what God’s Word says. Scripture anchors our hearts, our emotions, and our lives to truth. But it’s not enough to just have a head knowledge of Scripture—sound doctrine is radically transformational! Lived out, it changes everything about us.
Sound doctrine is also intensely practical. What we know about God and His ways is intended to change the way we think and respond and act—day after day, moment by moment, in every situation and circumstance of life.
Every season of life provides opportunities to know God, to experience His tailor-made grace, and to gain treasures to share with those who are coming behind us. A particular season or situation we find ourselves in may feel impossibly restrictive, painful, challenging, or mundane. But as we receive and offer back up to God each circumstance, each unsolved mystery, each unanswered question, and each seemingly meaningless task, He blesses and sanctifies it all—for our joy, for our greater usefulness, and for the advance of His kingdom.
We Can Make a Difference
As we get older, there is a subtle temptation to want to take it easy, to retire to the sidelines and let others do the heavy lifting, to become complacent or self-indulgent—after all, we’ve paid the price, we’ve earned this break! But this is not a time to rest on our laurels or to just coast to the finish line. There are women coming behind us who need us to help them in their journey, to remind them of God’s faithfulness, and to encourage them to persevere in faith and obedience.
I believe if women would take seriously the exhortation of Titus 2:3–5, we would have fewer casualties, fewer women “stuck” in unhealthy or sinful patterns, less need for crisis counseling and long-term therapy, less depression, frustration, guilt, shame, purposelessness, and anxiety . . . and we would make room for greater joy, freedom, and usefulness. This lifestyle won’t make our problems evaporate; it won’t transport us to some pain-free existence. But it will redeem those hard places and transform even our greatest afflictions into something of great beauty and value.
We may feel disqualified from investing in the lives of younger women, due to our own weaknesses, inadequacies, insecurities, or failures. But our failures can actually be stepping stones to greater fruitfulness and effectiveness. The greatest gift we have to offer other women is not our picture-perfect lives, but our testimony of God’s mercy and grace that we have received in the midst of our helplessness and need.
Women living out the gospel make the truth visible and beautiful to others, because they see Christ in us, and they see the gospel changing us.